Topic: Optimal DHP brewing

I just got some DHP today that is $2.50/g. With a price like that, it's something that I definitely want to do right the first time, as well as doing what I can to get the most from it.

So the big thing I'm wondering about is water. I haven't really gotten into water that much, so I'm wondering if I should use a mineral water or something softer? Any suggestions on brands? Fiji?

It comes in small vacuum packs so I can't see the leaf, but from the description on the outside, and the fact that it says that it's best used within 3 years, I'm guessing that it's relatively green. My flat-sided yixing pot dedicated to yancha has done pretty well with the greener, more fragrant yancha and using boiling water. So I'm guessing that it will treat this DHP well.

Anything else you guys can think of?


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Re: Optimal DHP brewing

I can think of something... Take some pictures and post them for me to look at!

would you like to share your source for this tea? And how much of it did you get? Post a description here, if it's not too much trouble, or at least a link to a description.

In my opinion you should get your darker roasted yancha pot ready too. Best within 3 years here may refer to a high fire tea. I say this because tea can last longer if it is stored in large amounts and may tend to go bad quickly in small amounts even if it is sealed. Also, the vendor may be worried that most customers won't keep the little bags in optimal storage conditions to last more than three years. Lastly you can't refresh roast a single infusion worth of leaf.

Really, my only advice is enjoy yourself. I have never had any tea this expensive, and would love to hear if it was worth it.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

with a tea like that, I recommend Wuyi Co. Ltd. bottled water exclusively shipped from China.

Just a kidding, I wonder what area of Wuyi Shan it is from or made by whom..etc..

I don't know much about water, but you might want to spend some $$ to buy Evian this time, won't you? :D

一杯一杯復一杯

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Re: Optimal DHP brewing

Speaking of Evian, many of you have probably read this post as The half-dipper is a pretty popular web log, but read this before buying Evian for tea use.

http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2007/04 … sting.html

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

5 (edited by william 2008-12-18 16:58:58)

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

I think Evian and Fuji both have too much mineral content. A lot of folks seem to like Volvic if they're going for expensive spring water; I've had good experiences with it. These days I've been using bottled water less and less, but I drink Crystal Geyser (or Whole Foods store brand, which is the same over here) when I do use it.

I think the hardest thing when trying a really fancy or expensive tea is keeping your expectations under control.

Don't go cheap on the leaf is my only other advice.

Is it the teacuppa "Tribute" one?


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6 (edited by ABx 2008-12-18 21:34:47)

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

This is actually Wuyi-Star's "Superfine" grade. I got it locally at Serenity Art. The guy said they only make 500 (something I couldn't understand - he was having a hard time with his English - "jin" maybe? A small harvest at any rate) and they would only sell him one case. It comes in a hand-etched steel canister with 8 packets inside - total of 56g for $140 - but $125 with my keep-the-crazy-obsessive-white-man-coming-back-and-spending-obscene-amounts-of-money discount :)

Here are pics - there's some writing on it that I wouldn't mind translated (the front of the box). You can see that it's on the box that says to use it in 3 years. There's also the story of DHP on the side, but I didn't figure you guys would be terribly interested; if I'm wrong then just let me know and I'll get a pic. Inside the big box is the yellow silk covered foam with cutout for the canister, and then a cardboard "skeleton" to keep the canister in place.

http://i486.photobucket.com/albums/rr22 … s/DHP1.jpg

http://i486.photobucket.com/albums/rr22 … s/DHP2.jpg

http://i486.photobucket.com/albums/rr22 … s/DHP3.jpg

http://i486.photobucket.com/albums/rr22 … s/DHP4.jpg

I've not been much for Wuyi-Star's pre-packaged stuff (I know most people don't think much of them), though the white box is generally pretty good stuff (although I've gone through a few before getting it right). I do have greater expectations for this one, however I don't really know what to expect. Conversationally he mentioned some time ago that the time he brewed a little (tiny) bit, the fragrance filled the store. He clearly didn't expect me to buy this one - you should have seen how surprised and elated the guy was. :)

(Just got your package while writing this, criminy thanks w :) )

The yancha pot I use actually excels with roasted TGY, it's just that I tried the greener ones in it and it worked out really well too. I suspect it's one of those pots that just works for anything you put in it :) I got the pot from the same store, and the guy really knows how to choose good pots with reasonable prices (usually around the $20-$40 range, often right around $30). It's just that the first tea that I put in it was yancha and it came out amazingly well, so I just immediately dubbed it my yancha pot.

Now I just wait for my fancy new canister to arrive to put it in :D (Yes, I went a little overboard this month, but I probably spent less in total than I do in some months - just on fewer items.)

So now I'll just have to get some good tea folks together to try it :) I'll definitely want to try it on a "good tea day" though. Two ounces gives me some room to fudge, but at that price I'd rather not waste any at all.

Maybe I should order just one or two packets of TeaCuppa's "Tribute DHP" to compare. This one is actually even more expensive, though, at $17.50 per packet. Serenity Art typically has lower prices (sometimes much lower) than most of the online vendors, too.

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

The writing on the front is just the name of the company. It says
China 'Wishing on a Star" Tea LLC
Wuyi city, Fujian province Tea Leaf Research Centre

I couldn't find the exact same product on the company website. Hopefully that means it was really good and sold out.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

yeah, well he did say that it was a very limited production. He was trying to tell me how limited (500 something, but he also tried to say more) but he was having a hard time with words. He did also say that they would only sell him one case. It was toward the end of his day, and he always has problems with English when he's tired.

Surprisingly he sold quite a few. The case contained twenty-something boxes, and I got the second to last one. What surprised him most was that I was the second to buy one that day.

Thanks for the translation :) I guess I should have figured that it would just be the company name.

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

I am not a fan of Wuyi Star Co. (too pricy) tho I've no doubt about their influence since they took over Wuyi Yancha Co. in 2003, also authorized to take care of 4.5 DHP tree and to run Wuyi tea leaf research and put em into a mass production including Wuyutai Co. so we can see them everywhere, a priced-up DHP. Monopoly!

Reminds me of that Taiwanese richie who monopolized Lao Ban Zhang farm and sell them 4 times more expensive than Yiwu..

一杯一杯復一杯

10

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

I think the fact that it's Wuyi-Star killed everyone's enthusiasm :P :)

chrl: So does that mean that most of the "real" DHP out there is Wuyi-Star in some form?


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Re: Optimal DHP brewing

ABx wrote:

I think the fact that it's Wuyi-Star killed everyone's enthusiasm :P :)

chrl: So does that mean that most of the "real" DHP out there is Wuyi-Star in some form?

Real DHP already has done 'asexual production' and spread em everywhere..

I don't think they might have done some blending if they have a guilty conscience (and the price)

一杯一杯復一杯

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12

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

Well I decided to grab a couple packets of the Tribute DHP from TeaCuppa as well. I figure it will be fun to brew them side-by-side to compare. I've already got some of the Imperial DHP from Jing, though I doubt it really compares.

I guess what I will have to do is get a few types of water and try them with some less expensive DHP - maybe even some Wuyi-Star (I'm thinking the white pack, since it's a little picky).

I would almost think that a water with high mineral content would be best, since that's likely what the plants grew up with (taking the rocks in the soil into account). Or maybe some softer water with meifan stones?

william wrote:

A lot of folks seem to like Volvic if they're going for expensive spring water; I've had good experiences with it.

So does anyone know of any brands of volvic water?


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Re: Optimal DHP brewing

ABx wrote:

I would almost think that a water with high mineral content would be best, since that's likely what the plants grew up with (taking the rocks in the soil into account). Or maybe some softer water with meifan stones?

william wrote:

A lot of folks seem to like Volvic if they're going for expensive spring water; I've had good experiences with it.

So does anyone know of any brands of volvic water?

Volvic is the brand. It's a French mineral water.

14

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

Hehe, I kinda started to wonder if that was the case earlier today. I'll definitely check it out, thanks

Last thing to get is a Kamjove kettle, rather than making it with my Zoji. I really like the $37 one from Bird Pick, but I'll have to wait til they get it back in stock :P (unless I decide to go for the $30 one, or find something equally inexpensive that I like just as much)

So one of these days I'll have a very nice gongfu session.. hopefully with good company :)

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

Hobbes' picture of the residue left by the Evian water makes me thing Evian would be a very good choice for the tea, especially if you believe that the best water for a tea is the water most similar to the water from area where the tea is from. Wuyi mountain has extremely hard –having lots of calcium carbonate– water because most of the soil is limestone. The Evian has lots of calcium carbonate in it –that is what you see in Hobbes' picture of his fair cup.

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

I also find that a cup with visible calcium carbonate is sweeter.

17

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

Like I say, I'll probably just get several different types of water and try them all out. With Will's experience, however, I will definitely be checking out Volvic, and with all of the reports from numerous other sources I will also definitely be checking out Fiji.


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Re: Optimal DHP brewing

ABx wrote:

With Will's experience, however, I will definitely be checking out Volvic, and with all of the reports from numerous other sources I will also definitely be checking out Fiji.

I've only used Volvic a few times (usually for special teas), and I don't think specifically for yancha. It's a little expensive and wasteful (esp. in terms of the carbon footprint of shipping water from Europe, plus the added waste of the smaller containers) for day to day brewing. I've mostly just used it because other tea folks I know seem to use it on occasion, and I think it has a little less mineral content than stuff like Evian.

I didn't get a chance to check out the spring water near Wuyishan... the water at one of the factories I visited was pretty good, but they said it was from the well in the traditional courtyard house (四合院) their factory is located in (they said the local spring water was better, but too much trouble most of the time). I thought about trying to collect some and get it home with me somehow.


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19

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

LaoChaGui wrote:

The writing on the front is just the name of the company. It says
China 'Wishing on a Star" Tea LLC
Wuyi city, Fujian province Tea Leaf Research Centre

I couldn't find the exact same product on the company website. Hopefully that means it was really good and sold out.

This looks like it...
http://www.wuyistar-tea.com/en/productShow.asp?id=75


I am curious, though; when the people in Wuyishan brew, and fill the pot/gaiwan 100% with dry leaf, is that in a yixing pot or a gaiwan? If it's in a gaiwan, is it an eggshell gaiwan, or something else?

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

Has anyone had experience with Iouseki stones and Binchotan charcoal for water filtering? Or with the Iousen water filter pot from Hario? Sort of an arty Brita but the charcoal and stones are submerged in the water.


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Re: Optimal DHP brewing

I have seen that before. It does look very nice, but other than that, it seems like a bit of a scam (i.e., if you buy it, buy it because you like the way it looks, not because of its magical oriental filtering properties).

I have never heard of Iouseki stones specifically, and googling for it mostly brings up more information about the DWR pitchers. Some folks here have tried various combinations of Maifan stones (a type of Chinese stone sometimes used in cooking, making water for tea; I believe it's a type of granite) and activated charcoal (usually bamboo). The Maifan stones are more to add minerals and soften the water, and I think would be most useful if your water has had most or all of the minerals removed (i.e., reverse-osmosis filtered water). I find that for me, sometimes they add a few too many minerals and I get a stomach ache, though I could just be imagining things.

I have used Binchotan charcoal for heating, but I don't know about using it for purifying water. You can buy it fairly cheaply, so no need to buy the special pitcher. You can keep stones / charcoal in some types of kettle, or in whatever you use to store water. I don't use them, but there are also some bottles of mineral drops you can use to remineralize really flat water.

I usually do keep a stick or two of bamboo charcoal in my electric kettles; whether it makes an actual difference or not, it certainly doesn't hurt.

A few teachat threads, in case they're helpful to you (mostly about the mineral stones, but also with some information about charcoal)
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=70149
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=7328
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=48030
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=62698


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Re: Optimal DHP brewing

ABx wrote:

I am curious, though; when the people in Wuyishan brew, and fill the pot/gaiwan 100% with dry leaf, is that in a yixing pot or a gaiwan? If it's in a gaiwan, is it an eggshell gaiwan, or something else?

In their shops they always use a gaiwan because an yixing pot may alter the taste for the customer. I did not see any nice Yixing pots in Wuyi for sale, but lots of producers might recieve nice ones as gifts from big customers.

They usually used a regular white gaiwan, not thick, but not what I would describe as eggshell. (I saw a very thin gaiwan about 2 weeks ago) but I would say that you should use an Yixiing or at least try it out. You probably have a nicely seasoned Yancha Yixing, and it would be a shame not to get some of that nice tea into it.

Let us know when you try the tea!

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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Re: Optimal DHP brewing

Yeah - I think it's very standard to use a gaiwan to avoid influencing the taste of the tea. At one shop, I saw the staff brewing some aged Da Hong Pao in a small Yixing pot for themselves, and I have seen plenty of (mostly not so great) Yixing there for sale in the touristy stores in the downtown tourist area. I think I had my girlfriend ask at another factory if they used pots at home and they said yes, but I could be remembering wrong.

But at all of the factories / shops  I saw, they brewed in normal, cheap white gaiwans (usually with the factory logo or the standard wuyishan logo); standard thickness. These things get tossed around and abused a lot (and they use a lot of them), so of course they're not using super-expensive eggshell gaiwans. If you look at the pictures from my trip or Corax's trip, you will see examples of them.

example:
http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/gaiwan_closeup.jpg

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

I'd champion Volvic over most other bottled mineral water...and about Wuyi Star, those who understand Chinese please go through their website and product page carefully...all is not what it seems to be...
:rolleyes:


Over & out

得來無事閑工夫,坐看雲起笑紅塵

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25

Re: Optimal DHP brewing

Well I have a couple of yancha pots, though they're not all that well seasoned quite yet. They don't seem to adsorb a whole lot. The problem with them is that they don't pour all that quickly, so I can usually only get away with filling them about 50%-70%. Granted some teas work better than others in these pots. I think I'll probably use my 80ml pot, which has done a wonderful job with a lot of yancha and has about an 8 second pour. The other is about 100-110ml and about a 15 second pour :P

houya wrote:

and about Wuyi Star, those who understand Chinese please go through their website and product page carefully...all is not what it seems to be...
:rolleyes:

Since I don't read (or speak) Chinese, could you please elaborate?